FW Market + Table is reaching for something different. Well, several somethings different.
In the space formerly occupied by Tillman’s Roadhouse, known for its “trio of fries” and pricey beef, is a restaurant going for healthful food and hipster customers. Kalen Morgenstern, former chef de cuisine at Tillman’s (and a former Hell’s Kitchen contestant), has headed up this transformation from “red meat” to “blue zone” with a philosophy of letting fresh ingredients speak for themselves.
As you may have guessed from the name, Market + Table is a dual venue. The Market side, which is open from early morning through late evening seven days a week, is a casual-dining restaurant where you can get items like carrot/celery/ginger juice, avocado toast, broccolini salad and a salmon-cake burger. And, yes, there’s a beef burger on the menu, too; no one’s forcing you to eat low-cholesterol.
But that’s all we’re going to say about the Market side, because it was our job recently to check out the recently opened Table side.
Table, open only Wednesday through Saturday evenings, is an upscale venue, with a crisp silver, white and blue decor. We were seated facing enormous photos of blue chickens, which we found amusing.
The menu offerings were slim but creative.
We started with the six-minute egg ($10), a sort of undercooked hard-boiled egg with the whites firm but the yolk still soft. The two halves of the egg were served on a bed of crispy hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and microgreens with a Lyonnaise (browned onions) sauce. The warm yolk along with the crispness of the mushrooms was a stunning combination.
The asparagus salad ($10) was a piled-high creation of asparagus, broccolini and artichokes atop a mound of chili-oil-dressed barley. The dressing was ultralight, though the lemon chili-oil gave a bite to the barley. Decorative asparagus-shaving curls atop the salad were too woody to be eaten. The roasted beet salad ($10) was an eyeful, with beautiful ruby-red radish slices stealing the limelight from the beets. Again, the dressing was very light, with the vegetables holding court.
Honeycrisp apples, a seasonal favorite, made an appearance in a couple places on the menu, including Honeycrisp apple soup ($8), which we couldn’t resist trying. This cream soup was both sweet and savory, with an earthy undertone.
Entree selections included just three “land” options and three “sea” options. From land, we went with the veal ($23), which was about half-a-dozen generously cut rounds of veal, pinkish in the middle, served with a nondescript blackberry glaze. The scallops were attractively displayed on a rectangular plate with a scallop shell at one end (the shell is larger than you’d think). The scallops were served with an apple garnish and a finely chopped, mildly spicy chorizo garnish that we assume was made on premises, as it was unlike any chorizo we’ve experienced previously.
We also sampled several sides. Harissa, a Middle Eastern chili paste, gave quite a kick to the roasted root vegetables ($7), which included baby carrots that were unexpectedly bitter. Grilled apples showed up yet again in a pleasant medley with Brussels sprouts ($7).
Our favorite side dish was a rectangle of winter squash ($8) layered with goat cheese and topped with sage breadcrumbs. The cheese, though barely there, smoothed out the flavor of the squash and the breadcrumbs were a nice textural contrast.
We were still working on the sides when our server began clearing plates, which brings us to our one serious complaint: The service was much too rushed. We had barely settled in to talk after placing our order, when the first courses arrived.
Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re famished. A more serious faux pas was the arrival of the entrees while we were still engaged in consuming salad and soup.
And then there went our main-course plates, while there was still more — squash and Brussels sprouts — to enjoy.
We consoled ourselves with a chocolate peanut butter tart ($10), quite like a refrigerated Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup turned into a wedge of pie.
Not everything can be health food.